Today’s Big Read: Russia’s Comprehensive Disinformation Campaign

Pushing ten thousand comments on the Post’s online story, as of 6am:

The report, a draft of which was obtained by The Washington Post, is the first to study the millions of posts provided by major technology firms to the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), its chairman, and Sen. Mark Warner (Va.), its ranking Democrat. The bipartisan panel hasn’t said whether it endorses the findings. It plans to release it publicly along with another study later this week.

The research — by Oxford University’s Computational Propaganda Project and Graphika, a network analysis firm — offers new details of how Russians working at the Internet Research Agency, which U.S. officials have charged with criminal offenses for interfering in the 2016 campaign, sliced Americans into key interest groups for targeted messaging. These efforts shifted over time, peaking at key political moments, such as presidential debates or party conventions, the report found.

The data sets used by the researchers were provided by Facebook, Twitter and Google and covered several years up to mid-2017, when the social media companies cracked down on the known Russian accounts. The report, which also analyzed data separately provided to House Intelligence Committee members, contains no information on more recent political moments, such as November’s midterm elections.

“What is clear is that all of the messaging clearly sought to benefit the Republican Party — and specifically Donald Trump,” the report says. “Trump is mentioned most in campaigns targeting conservatives and right-wing voters, where the messaging encouraged these groups to support his campaign. The main groups that could challenge Trump were then provided messaging that sought to confuse, distract and ultimately discourage members from voting.”…

The Russians aimed particular energy at activating conservatives on issues such as gun rights and immigration, while sapping the political clout of left-leaning African American voters by undermining their faith in elections and spreading misleading information about how to vote. Many other groups — Latinos, Muslims, Christians, gay men and women, liberals, Southerners, veterans — got at least some attention from Russians operating thousands of social media accounts.

The report also offered some of the first detailed analyses of the role played by YouTube, a subsidiary of Google, and Instagram, owned by Facebook, in the Russian campaign, as well as anecdotes about how Russians used other social media platforms — Google+, Tumblr and Pinterest — that have received relatively little scrutiny. The Russian effort also used email accounts from Yahoo, Microsoft’s Hotmail service and Google’s Gmail…

The report traces the origins of Russian online influence operations to Russian domestic politics in 2009 and says that ambitions shifted to include U.S. politics as early as 2013 on Twitter. Of the tweets the company provided to the Senate, 57 percent are in Russian, 36 percent in English and smaller amounts in other languages…

Facebook was particularly effective at targeting conservatives and African Americans, the report found. More than 99 percent of all engagement — meaning likes, shares and other reactions — came from 20 Facebook pages controlled by the IRA, including “Being Patriotic,” “Heart of Texas,” “Blacktivist” and “Army of Jesus.”…

Beginning to look more and more like Hillary was (as usual) correct about the Thief-in-Chief’s RUSSIAN PUPPET status.

(Matt Davies via GoComics.com)
.






116 replies
  1. 1
    Betty Cracker says:

    People are going to need to wrap their minds around the fact that this man was installed by a foreign dictator for money and power, and our obsession with coddling white supremacy keep his machinations intact.

    QFT. I wish I were confident it’s possible.

  2. 2
    Platonailedit says:

    i just posted about this in the last thread. Wonder if and how the rethug senators will try to discredit this report too.

    The research details a vast campaign spearheaded by the Internet Research Agency – a Russian company that has been described by the United States Intelligence Community as a troll farm with ties to the Russian government.

    The report says Russia had a particular focus on targeting conservatives with posts on immigration, race and gun rights.

    There were also efforts to undermine the voting power of left-leaning African-American citizens, by spreading misinformation about the electoral process.

    “What is clear is that all of the messaging clearly sought to benefit the Republican Party – and specifically Donald Trump,” the report says.

    “Trump is mentioned most in campaigns targeting conservatives and right-wing voters, where the messaging encouraged these groups to support his campaign. The main groups that could challenge Trump were then provided messaging that sought to confuse, distract and ultimately discourage members from voting.”

    While the data used by the researchers was provided by Facebook, Twitter and Google, their findings criticise the “belated and uncoordinated response” from these companies to Russia’s disinformation campaign.

  3. 3
    A Ghost To Most says:

    In effect, the Special Counsel’s Office gives every sign of focusing sharply on the larger narrative with Russia. It is investigating the possibility that Donald Trump, his campaign, his organization and his associates, participated in a set of criminal conspiracies with Russia to defraud the United States both of a free and fair election and of a government solely devoted to its interests (18 U.S.C. § 371).


    Forbes article from Dangerman below

    Mueller is starting to reveal the entire conspiracy.

  4. 4
    Yarrow says:

    Thank goodness this information is finally being published in the mainstream media. It’s been so clear for years now that this is what was happening.

    I’ll say it again, we need a comprehensive program to educate people on understanding, identifying, and combating propaganda. It’s essential to our security.

  5. 5
    The Dangerman says:

    Russia’s Comprehensive Disinformation Campaign

    Leave no stain unturned?

  6. 6
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @The Dangerman:

    Leave no stain unturned?

    Leave no turd unstained.

  7. 7
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    “What is clear is that all of the messaging clearly sought to benefit the Republican Party — and specifically Donald Trump,” the report says. “Trump is mentioned most in campaigns targeting conservatives and right-wing voters, where the messaging encouraged these groups to support his campaign. The main groups that could challenge Trump were then provided messaging that sought to confuse, distract and ultimately discourage members from voting.”…

    The Russians aimed particular energy at activating conservatives on issues such as gun rights and immigration, while sapping the political clout of left-leaning African American voters by undermining their faith in elections and spreading misleading information about how to vote.

    Boom. There it is. The Russians clearly interfered to support Donald Trump and the GOP. Forget whether he and his campaign directly coordinated with the Russians to get elected, although’s that clear now too. He should be removed from office just based on this, but (so far) won’t be.

  8. 8
    Elizabelle says:

    I think this is a huge turn in the investigation. It’s not surprising either.

    Some at Balloon Juice have been assuring us constantly that the Senate will not vote to convict. Having information like this out there might put some terrible pressure on them. Why are you propping up Russia’s president so hard there, Senator Midwest?

    And maybe Trump (and Pence) will leave office by other than impeachment. Uncharted waters.

    How did this report get out? Leak by whom, and for what purpose? I’ve not followed news this morning.

  9. 9
    BC in Illinois says:

    I forget the name of it, but a video I saw a few months ago was helpful in setting the proper perspective.

    The electoral crimes of Trump were not a conspiracy that he devised.
    It’s Putin’s conspiracy.

    Once you start with Putin as the actor and American politics, Trump politics, Republican politics, NRA politics, white supremacist politics, religio-political politics, as the targets, the picture makes more sense.

    Why are Russian and NRA figures mixed together at a “National Prayer Breakfast”? Look at it from Moscow’s point of view and it makes more sense.

    Trump is a figure in all of this and he’s our main problem, but he’s a second-tier figure. Ask the question, “Does Trump influence what Putin does, or does Putin influence what Trump does?” The answer is not hard.

    Once we remove Trump, there will still be a fight to be fought.

  10. 10
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @A Ghost To Most:
    Mueller won’t by himself save us, but he’ll certainly help by making exposing all of this.

  11. 11
    Yarrow says:

    @Elizabelle: Not me. I think Nancy won’t bring impeachment charges up for a vote unless she’s confident the Senate will vote to convict. At that point the crimes will be so obvious to most people that everyone will want him out of there.

  12. 12
    Yarrow says:

    @BC in Illinois: Was it “Active Measures”? I still need to watch that. Been too busy.

  13. 13
    A Ghost To Most says:

    While the right-wing pages promoted Mr. Trump’s candidacy, the left-wing pages scorned Mrs. Clinton while promoting Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate,” the Times states. “The voter suppression effort was focused particularly on Sanders supporters and African-Americans, urging them to shun Mrs. Clinton in the general election and either vote for Ms. Stein or stay home.”

    rawstory referencing FTFNYT story about Russian interference.

  14. 14
    Yarrow says:

    @A Ghost To Most: But of course. Working all angles. And let’s not forget willing accomplices among the campaigns. Hey there, Tad Devine.

  15. 15
    germy says:

    c’mon now, let’s not be too hasty.

    “Clearly, this was not a good week for President Trump nor his campaign organization and these allegations are concerning. But we need to wait until we have the entire picture,” GOP Sen. Susan Collins says. #CNNSOTU https://t.co/OEtTfH2vV6 pic.twitter.com/5d5dM3clFy
    — CNN (@CNN) December 16, 2018

  16. 16
    Mary G says:

    Rikyrah turned me on to Kaitlyn Byrd aka @GothamGirlBlue last year and she is one of the best truth tellers on Twitter. She describes herself as an Eleanor Roosevelt Democrat, which I love! She has had a few posts on Huffington as a “Guest Writer,” which I assume means unpaid, and some organization which commits real journalism should snap her up ASAP.

  17. 17
    Platonailedit says:

    Michael Flynn's business partner is being charged with acting as an agent of a foreign government and conspiracy for attempting to get Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen extradited from the United States. https://t.co/10sWZ7dpge— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) December 17, 2018

    Didn’t the totus thug promise the turkish thug at last week’s summit that his admin is expediting the extradition of Gulen?

  18. 18
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @A Ghost To Most: It’s fallen down the MSM memory hole, even on the MSNBC primetime block, that in WI, MI and PA Stein’s vote was larger than trump’s margin of victory

  19. 19
    tobie says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: That’s what stood out to me, too. It’s not just Trump. The entire Republican Party was involved in this conspiracy (or interlocking conspiracies). There’s this kind of fraud, combined with Republican voter suppression efforts as well as the still uninvestigated Bladen counties that likely exist throughout the US. Today’s GOP is a criminal conspiracy.

  20. 20
  21. 21
    Betty Cracker says:

    @BC in Illinois: That’s an important point — it was Putin’s conspiracy, not Trump’s. Putin’s minions used greed, flattery and a lust for power — all qualities Trump already had in abundance in public for decades — to entice him into betraying his country. Trump and his people didn’t have to be smart. They just had to follow the script and accept the assistance, which they were eager to do.

  22. 22
    chopper says:

    @germy:

    “as for now, however, my brow is somewhat furrowed,” she added.

  23. 23
    Platonailedit says:

    @JPL: His get out of jail free card plea deal? Yeah, I was not happy about it either.

  24. 24
    Elizabelle says:

    @Yarrow: Agreed. It’s why the MSM keeps trying to bait her and other Democrats into coming out like Yosemite Sam now.

    No. Keep your powder dry. Whites of their eyes. Nancy Smash. Robert Mueller.

  25. 25
    Gin & Tonic says:

    As Adam pointed out a few days ago, this is the third instance in my lifetime of a hostile foreign government helping to assure the election of a Republican President. In two of those instances, the clear historical record is that this was at the instigation of said candidate, and in the third the evidence is becoming overwhelming.

    There are no instances in my lifetime of a hostile foreign government intervening to elect a Democratic President.

  26. 26
    germy says:

    If I heard him right, Rudy Giuliani just said on @FoxNews that prosecutors are going through Trump’s business records going back to 1982.

    — Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) December 16, 2018

  27. 27
    JPL says:

    @Platonailedit: Flynn must have provided information about where the bodies are buried. Fox news is painting him as a poor soul who was set up by the mean FBI.

  28. 28
    Mart says:

    @Platonailedit:

    Michael Flynn’s business partner is being charged

    Well I hope the feds clearly let him know that he should not lie to them. Otherwise they would be entrapping him; and that is not right and is another part of the turncoat 17 democrat/Mueller investigation.

  29. 29
    Yarrow says:

    @tobie:

    Today’s GOP is a criminal conspiracy.

    RICO, baby. Just wait until they get to the RNC laundering Russian money. Gonna be crazy!

    @Elizabelle: Yep, and she’s got her caucus in line. They always sidestep the issue. “Let’s let the Mueller investigation deliver their report.” Heh. She’s way too smart to fall for their dumb tricks.

  30. 30
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @germy:
    I don’t get her. She has to know her political future is destroyed. She’s going to probably get a strong challenger in 2020. And governor of Maine? Yeah right. Do any Mainers have insight into this?

  31. 31
    Betty Cracker says:

    @germy: Giuliani also said that Trump Tower Moscow negotiations were going on clear up to the election. I’m not sure if the fool was just confused or if he’s laying the groundwork for evidence of that to emerge.

  32. 32
    PJ says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Pedant chiming in: South Vietnam, which, at Nixon’s behest, scuttled peace talks with North Vietnam which could have ended the war, or at least brought about a truce, was our ally, and so can’t really be called a hostile foreign power.

  33. 33
    Yarrow says:

    @Betty Cracker: Russia owned Trump since the early 1990’s and by some accounts since his visit to the Soviet Union in 1987. His Atlantic City casinos were Russian money laundromats. It’s not like they suddenly happened upon Trump and decided to use him. They’d primed him and then made it seem like his idea to run. Then they told him how it was going to work or they’d release all the kompromat they had on him and he’d be fucked.

    Just look at his face and body language after the Helsinki meeting. That was–is–a man who is owned and knows it.

  34. 34
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Betty Cracker: ’m not sure if the fool was just confused or if he’s laying the groundwork for evidence of that to emerge.

    i suspect both

  35. 35
    germy says:

    @Yarrow: Don’t forget there were many journalists (TV and print) who kept asking him if he would consider running for president.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzisNhRldmg

    Even when he said he “wasn’t inclined” they kept asking him. The way nowadays they keep asking Oprah.

  36. 36
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Yarrow:

    and by some accounts since his visit to the Soviet Union in 1987

    Damn and that was after Gorbachev was in charge.

  37. 37
    Yarrow says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: Go look at her husband’s background and his connections to Russia. Can’t remember the details, sorry. He’s her kompromat, is what I remember reading.

  38. 38
    germy says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I’m not sure if the fool was just confused or if he’s laying the groundwork for evidence of that to emerge.

    As Mr. Silverman would say “Why not both?”

  39. 39
    Yarrow says:

    @germy: Many journalists and TV pundits are compromised as well. Some of the ones doing that were probably on orders from their bosses.

  40. 40
  41. 41
    Cermet says:

    Until and unless the orange fart cloud’s base abandons him, the senate reptilian leaders will never convict that rump – never.

    That said, this makes it imperative that dem voters vote and remove him from office come 2020; also, get as many senators elected who are dem.

  42. 42
    PJ says:

    @JPL: Flynn is trying to get jail time down to nothing by going with the new GOP defense that requiring defendants to tell the truth to federal agents or under oath is a “perjury trap.” The feds ain’t gonna go along with that:

    “A sitting National Security Advisor, former head of an intelligence agency, retired Lieutenant General, and 33-year veteran of the armed forces knows he should not lie to federal agents,” Mueller wrote.

  43. 43
    germy says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:

    And governor of Maine?

    Paul LePage.

    Makes Gohmert look like Einstein.

  44. 44
    zhena gogolia says:

    Up top on my computer it says, “Have you signed President Trump’s Christmas card?”

  45. 45
    PJ says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: Did you think the KGB threw up their hands and closed up shop when Gorbachev came to power? Trump has been an asset since 87 (see his NYT and Wash Post ads from after his Moscow trip, demanding that the US stop defending Japan and other allies), but the KGB/FSB has surely been working on hooking as many stupid fish as they can (see the NRA, Rohrabacher, etc.)

  46. 46
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @zhena gogolia: So? Have you?

  47. 47
    Platonailedit says:

    I like it when the dems are willing to sock it to the thug. Drive the fucking media’s narrative for a change.

    Chris Coons on CNN: Trump's "use of the term 'Rat' for Michael Cohen and mischaracterizing this as a break-in to his attorney's office frankly makes him sound more like a mob boss than president of the United States."

    — Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) December 17, 2018

  48. 48
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    How can anyone keep people from believing this targeted propaganda and these lies?

    For a while jr highs and high schools had curricula that attempted to teach students how to analyze and dissect what they read , to test the material and try to determine if there were any verifiable facts u underneath it.

    IIRC, there were recent attempts by states to eliminate teaching critical thinking skills from the state educational goals. Maybe it was TX?!?

  49. 49
    JPL says:

    @PJ: In order to escape additional charges, it appears that Flynn gave up information on his business partners. Hopefully his get out of jail free card includes information on trump also. I’m shocked that Mueller doesn’t want jail time.

  50. 50
    Cathie from Canada says:

    And it sounds like the Russians had great fun doing this, too — the patriotic Russians working at that “troll farm” came into work each day eager to find some new and clever way to screw up America, and their bosses put a lot of effort and thought into how to do it. It reminds me of the “own the libs” glee that conservatives now seem to feel whenever they can get on someone’s case.
    Is it really so easy to trick a western democracy into shooting itself in the foot? I guess so. A cautionary tale for all of us.

  51. 51
    emmyelle says:

    This is a failure of the media and of the Republican Party. They own this shit.

  52. 52
    BC in Illinois says:

    @Yarrow:

    Yes, it was Active Measures.

    ACTIVE MEASURES chronicles the most successful espionage operation in Russian history, the American presidential election of 2016. Filmmaker Jack Bryan exposes a 30-year history of covert political warfare devised by Vladmir Putin to disrupt, and ultimately control world events. In the process, the filmmakers follow a trail of money, real estate, mob connections, and on the record confessions to expose an insidious plot that leads directly back to The White House. With democracy hanging in the balance, ACTIVE MEASURES is essential viewing. Unraveling the true depth and scope of “the Russia story” as we have come to know it, this film a jarring reminder that some conspiracies hide in plain sight.

    Original Interviews With:

    Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State (2008–2013)
    Toomás Hendrik Ilves, President of Estonia (2006–2016)
    Mikheil Saakashvili, President of Georgia (2004 – 2013)
    Senator John McCain, Senate Armed Services Committee
    Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Senate Judiciary Committee
    Congressman Eric Swalwell, House Intelligence Committee
    Steven Hall, CIA Chief of Russia Operations (1985–2013)
    Michael McFaul, U.S. Ambassador to Russia (2012–2014)

  53. 53

    Tumblr

    I saw the insane conspiracy theories about Hillary cheating in the primary going around Tumblr. I saw them spreading to young idealists I knew who were not dead-ender assholes. I would be zero percent surprised to hear the origin of these posts was Russian propaganda.

    I also saw the Useful Asshole From Vermont wink-wink confirm this Democratic Party sabotaging bullshit by telling his supporters they had legitimate grievances when asked to condemn the conspiracy theories.

  54. 54
    zhena gogolia says:

    If Putin would put one 1/billionth of the effort he’s put into screwing us (and multiple other countries) into helping his own country, the world would be a much better place.

  55. 55
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    S Rozhdestvom, sukin syn!

  56. 56
    Humdog says:

    Modern Republicans, voters and electeds, simply do not believe that there should be consequences for anyone on their side. Period. They will not cooperate in seeing justice prevail. The most the electeds may do is try to disconnect themselves from Shitstain and his problems, but they will minimize whatever wrongdoing is proven and will rehabilitate all the perpetrators.
    We can only overwhelm them, limited by the Constitution’s favoritism of their regions of the country.

  57. 57
    zhena gogolia says:

    @PJ:

    They eased up for a while, but they’re back in business now.

  58. 58
    JPL says:

    @PJ: @Platonailedit:
    This makes me feel hopeful.

    Interesting sidelight: Flynn’s deal, as written, didn’t preclude him from being charged by EDVA in the case unsealed today. Although the conduct is described in his Statement of Offense, Flynn’s plea deal was only with SCO. It expressly didn’t bind any other US Attorney’s office.

    https://twitter.com/nycsouthpaw

  59. 59

    @Humdog:

    Modern Republicans, voters and electeds, simply do not believe that there should be consequences for anyone on their side. Period.

    Consequences might have been allowable, sometimes, maybe, before a black man became president. This is a war to preserve the curve for unqualified white men, and it went from ‘urgent’ to ‘total and existential’ when Obama was elected.

  60. 60
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Elizabelle:
    I think (said the foreigner) that Republican Senators will vote to convict Trump only if they reckon it’s either him or them. And that it will come to that only if the party base decides to turn bigly against Trump — which we have yet to see.

  61. 61
    Fair Economist says:

    @A Ghost To Most:

    Mueller is starting to reveal the entire conspiracy.

    I’ve said this before: Mueller is not really targeting Trump; he’s targeting the Russian networks that put him in power – and created the Brexit mess, and infiltrated Five Star in Italy, and incited disruption in Catalonia, and probably a lot more that we don’t know about (I am very suspicious about Bolsonaro in Brazil). Those networkds are the real threats, not the demented superannuated con man they’re using as a front man here.

  62. 62
    PJ says:

    @zhena gogolia: This is one problem with government by mafia: when your only idea about how to make money is simply to skim off of legitimate businesses, the weight of the skim is eventually going to drive those businesses down, if not out of business entirely. But for the bosses at the top, who needs innovation, or enterprise? The gravy keeps flowing in.

  63. 63

    @Amir Khalid:

    if the party base decides to turn bigly against Trump — which we have yet to see.

    It won’t happen. That assholes like Trump should be allowed to cheat at life and abuse minorities without consequences is the exact principle the GOP base is fighting tooth and claw for.

  64. 64
    PJ says:

    @JPL: Glad to hear that.

  65. 65

    @Fair Economist:

    Mueller is not really targeting Trump; he’s targeting the Russian networks that put him in power

    This is an excellent point, but Mueller is targeting the network on this side, because he can’t prosecute the Russian side. So… who is at the top that he’s aiming to destroy?

  66. 66
    trollhattan says:

    @Betty Cracker:
    I could envision them having used Santorum, Walker or li’l Rand Paul in the same fashion, but none of those can stir up the rubes like their Donny can.

  67. 67
    Elizabelle says:

    @Fair Economist: Agreed. It is the most important work of his life, and crucial to maintaining functioning democracies. And he’s got a whole team on board for the work.

    It’s way bigger than Trump.

  68. 68
    Fair Economist says:

    @Ladyraxterinok:

    How can anyone keep people from believing this targeted propaganda and these lies?

    For a while jr highs and high schools had curricula that attempted to teach students how to analyze and dissect what they read , to test the material and try to determine if there were any verifiable facts u underneath it.

    This is all very important, and I have a personal interest because my son falls head over heels for every whackadoodle conspiracy theory he comes across. 9/11 truther is, seriously, one of the *least* crazy ones he’s espoused recently. Most don’t even make internal sense. I get berated for being “brainwashed” because I don’t think the world is run by the Illuminati in a 500 year old conspiracy orchestrated by aliens to get all the world’s currency in the hands of one Jew. (The fact that I had currency in my pocket did not even briefly distract him).

  69. 69
    trollhattan says:

    @JPL:
    Sorry, but what’s “EDVA”?

  70. 70
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Fair Economist: they were and are also active in France, funding and promoting Marine LePen and the Front National, and currently ginning up the gilets jaunes. There’s a New Yorker piece out that I haven’t read yet, but it’s about trump’s efforts to destroy the EU. Amazing coincidence of wants between trump and Putin, ain’t it?

    Susan Glasser @ sbg1
    Angela Merkel is not the leader of the free world. Nor will she be. My print piece on Europe’s other crisis: Donald Trump, is up newyorker:

    It makes me wonder if European allies will ever dump their intel on The Beast, or if I’m just Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin. It’s hard for me to imagine they don’t know things.

  71. 71
    Fair Economist says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    So… who is at the top that he’s aiming to destroy?

    The true culprits are in Russia, as you say, and not accessible to Mueller. I think the real point is to expose the financing, the propaganda systems, and the coopted Quislings here so people in the West will take actions to stop it. The main tool to stop this will probably be additional financial sanctions.

  72. 72
    zhena gogolia says:

    @trollhattan:

    I’m guessing Eastern District of Virginia.

  73. 73
    trollhattan says:

    @Fair Economist:
    Yikes. I learned the existence of Alex Jones from my best buddy’s oldest, but he mostly listened ironically. He trolled the hell out of dad to get a response, “Dad, Alex Jones said…” which was amusing to witness.

  74. 74
    NeenerNeener says:

    @trollhattan: Eastern District of Virginia?

  75. 75
    Fair Economist says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    It makes me wonder if European allies will ever dump their intel on The Beast

    IMO the Euros have dumped their info – to Mueller. Much of Mueller’s investigations are directed at finding proof of things he already knows about via intelligence channels, by other means, so he can indict without burning sources. For the most part, intel sources wouldn’t be adequate for proof in a court of law anyway.

    IOW, the Great Pumpkin is here but you’ll never see him.

  76. 76
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Fair Economist: no fair! I want it all over the grocery store magazine racks!

    what a world we live in where David Pecker could, if he wants to, have a greater effect on US politics than the combined intelligence services of the western allies

  77. 77
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Colbert had the greatest line. “Weekly World News is getting in on the act: ‘Elvis is alive — and he has the pee-pee tape!'”

  78. 78
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Lamar Alexander retiring, not running again in 2020. And speaking of Great Pumpkins, Mike Murphy says he will be the principled Republican who stands up to trump from within

  79. 79
    Feathers says:

    @Fair Economist: Google needs to answer for the part YouTube played (and plays) in this. A good place to start would be for schools to stop giving Chromebooks to students and ban YouTube from classrooms until it is free of anti-semitism, racism and vile misogyny.

  80. 80
    jc says:

    Trump is that loathsome creep who’s facade is all confidence and bravado, while he’s totally lying and cheating behind the scenes. Just the worst kind of divisive demagogue. I have to wonder if the scope of his damage to the country will ever be acknowledged by the corporate media.

  81. 81

    Switch out “Russia” for say “Iran” and I guarantee you we’d be calling this an act of war and sending in troops YESTERDAY.

  82. 82
    hedgehog the occasional commenter says:

    @zhena gogolia: I fear my sentiments would earn me a visit from humorless gentlemen in bad suits…

  83. 83
    cain says:

    If I was in any of these spy agencies I would be pretty depressed. The man who has the highest security clearance is a Russian asset. It blows my mind. He literally can leak the worlds secrets to his friends in Russia. He probably purposely uses unsecured phones so that he can leak secrets without having to meet with any Russian agents.

    His supporters have been so propagandized by Fox News and grifter conservative news media that they can’t see anything other sides and that one side is completely anti-american and their side is the side of angels even though it is complete the opposite. You can also add assistance from media executives and mid tier managers in news organizations.

  84. 84
    Nicole says:

    I recently read “The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia,” and a lot of the author’s argument was that the Russian national character, shaped through decades (and really, centuries) of authoritarian rule, was never going to be comfortable with Western style democracy. Our national characters are shaped long before we, as individuals, arrive on the scene. And I thought about a writer, British, I think, whose name it’s making me crazy I can’t remember, but she wrote about her travels in America in the early 19th Century. What stuck with me was that, even back then, she commented on how Americans were not only remarkably ignorant, but also took pride in being ignorant. There was a willful choice in not understanding or knowing about things.

    Which is why I despair of any of this information about Russia ever making any difference. Americans aren’t going to willingly accept they’ve been gobbling up propaganda. They will make the willful choice to not learn anything from this. It’s in our national character.

  85. 85
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Fair Economist: My sympathies. I have an old friend who falls down every conspiracy theory rabbit hole, and it’s incredibly frustrating. I don’t even know where to begin when she brings it up. You can’t reason with someone who believes such crazy shit, so I just change the subject. I’d be doubly horrified if it were my child who believed all that garbage.

  86. 86
    catclub says:

    @Elizabelle:

    A two-thirds vote (67 senators) was required to remove Clinton from office. 50 senators voted to remove Clinton on the obstruction of justice charge and 45 voted to remove him on the perjury charge; no member of his own Democratic Party voted guilty on either charge.

    I would say that if Pelosi thinks a non-zero number of GOP senators are likely to vote guilty, that would be reason to go ahead.
    If it is still at zero GOP senators, don’t bother. Given her skills at vote counting, that would come in handy here.

  87. 87
    Elizabelle says:

    @Nicole: Great comment. Very insightful.

    Was it Frances Trollope?

  88. 88
    catclub says:

    @Nicole: Alexis de Tocqueville?

  89. 89
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Elizabelle:

    Sounds like it.

  90. 90

    @Nicole:

    They will make the willful choice to not learn anything from this. It’s in our national character.

    White America. Unfortunately, all trends show we’re not getting any better as the generations roll by. The demographic timer is both the cause of this freakout and our only likely salvation from it. By the Sun Pony, though, if my fellow white liberals can be woken up to how bad this situation is and how desperately we need to vote, we need to try. It could save everyone a lot of pain, and it’s the moral duty too many of us have shirked.

  91. 91
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Elizabelle:

    It’s way bigger than Trump.

    Mr. Creosote is a malignant symptom of a far greater disease.

  92. 92
    JR says:

    @Yarrow: untrue according to snopes.

    Collins’ partisan hackery can stand on its own merits

  93. 93
    JPL says:

    @trollhattan: Eastern District of Virginia.. (federal court)

  94. 94
    CliosFanBoy says:

    @Gin & Tonic: There are no instances in my lifetime of a hostile foreign government intervening to elect a Democratic President.

    the closest I can think of is the First French Republic hoping Jefferson would win over Adams in 1800. that’s it.

  95. 95
    CliosFanBoy says:

    @PJ: and GRU. I’m worried we keep finding GRUs fingerprints, which means we’re missing FSB and SVR’s….

  96. 96
    Ruckus says:

    @zhena gogolia:
    The world might be a better place but would Vlad be as rich or as powerful if that was the case?
    It’s not a trick question, the answer is no. And that’s the only thing you need to know as to why it won’t happen.
    But I’d bet you knew that.

  97. 97
    Ruckus says:

    @Humdog:
    Don’t forget that when the constitution was written most of sections of the country that are bright red today didn’t exist as states, just land mass, and owned by someone else. That includes the most populated blue areas as well. The country and the world has changed dramatically in the last 200+ yrs. The constitution has changed only a little. Important changes absolutely but not not changed as dramatically as the world has.

  98. 98
    Nicole says:

    @Elizabelle:

    Was it Frances Trollope?

    It may have been- I’ll have to go looking back through the assorted PDFs on my computer at some point to track that particular chapter down. I thought I remembered a “Mary” in the name, but as I frequently forget names of people I’ve literally just been introduced to, I don’t trust myself to recall a name I read a few years ago, either.

  99. 99
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @CliosFanBoy: There are days I feel old, but the Jefferson-Adams election was before my time.

  100. 100
    Nicole says:

    @catclub:

    Alexis de Tocqueville?

    The writer was definitely a woman. That I do remember, since not nearly as many women as men get shout outs in history books.

  101. 101
    CliosFanBoy says:

    @Gin & Tonic: it was a simpler time. ;)

  102. 102
    Brachiator says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    I think (said the foreigner) that Republican Senators will vote to convict Trump only if they reckon it’s either him or them. And that it will come to that only if the party base decides to turn bigly against Trump

    Trump can rest easy, then. The Republican base loves him, at least in Iowa. The Iowa poll results are sobering.

    Two-thirds of Iowa’s Republican voters say they would definitely vote to re-elect Trump if the general election were held today, but nearly as many say the state’s party ought to welcome challengers to the President to Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses, according to a new CNN/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll.

    The President’s strength among the state’s registered Republican voters is clear in the poll, with Trump earning an 81% approval rating, a 77% favorability rating, and majorities heralding his choices on immigration, judicial appointments, tax cuts, tariffs and even firing his attorney general as good moves. And by a better than two-to-one margin, Republican voters in Iowa place more blame on congressional Republicans (54%) than on the President (24%) for the party’s recent midterm losses.

    These people are no longer simply Republicans. They are Trumpists, who see the party as not doing enough to support their Dear Leader.

    Those Iowa Republicans who say they feel more allegiance to Trump than to the party have a particularly negative take on the President’s Republican critics. Twenty-three percent have an unfavorable view of Corker, compared with just 4% among those who feel a closer tie to the party. On Flake, nearly half of those who feel a close tie to the President (46%) have a negative view, compared with 13% of those who feel closer to the party. And the divide is nearly as large on Kasich, with 43% of those who feel closer to the President viewing him unfavorably, compared with 12% among those who feel closer to the party.

  103. 103
    JR says:

    @Brachiator: 81% approval among self-identified republicans is relatively low, so to speak.

    That’s where GW was at the turn of 2007. Even before September of ’08 his approval had withered to 60% *among republicans*.

    These things take time. The next presidential election is just under two years away.

  104. 104
    Ruckus says:

    @Brachiator:
    First, it Iowa. The state that keeps sending Steve PigMuck King to DC.
    Second, they elected 3 dems so 75% of their reps are not repubs now.
    Third, I’d bet that if you polled any place that overwhelmingly voted for individual 1 you’d get similar results. Most people don’t like to admit they walk around with their heads up their ass so they are going to support him, up to the bitter end. Nixon still had support as he was resigning. Bet he still has support today.

  105. 105
    J R in WV says:

    @trollhattan:

    Sorry, but what’s “EDVA”?

    The Eastern District of Virginia of the Department of Justice. Here in WV we have a Northern District and a Southern District, for another example…

  106. 106
    CliosFanBoy says:

    @Brachiator: according to Breitbart, when Trump was born in his father’s apartment building on Mount Paektu Street, a double rainbow appeared to herald the birth of the Dear Leader…

  107. 107
    CliosFanBoy says:

    @trollhattan: I think it’s one of those funky vegetables that people discover and show up on restaurant appetizer menus all the time…

  108. 108
    jc says:

    I read somewhere a week ago that Putin and his team are now realizing that Trump has turned into a poor asset. But I quickly lost track of where I read it. Anyone here remember?

    I don’t think Putin counted on the free press in the U.S. and W. Europe exposing his Grand Scheme, as we’re now seeing. Exposure can’t be good for him in the long-term.

  109. 109
    Brachiator says:

    @Ruckus:

    First, it Iowa. The state that keeps sending Steve PigMuck King to DC.
    Second, they elected 3 dems so 75% of their reps are not repubs now.
    Third, I’d bet that if you polled any place that overwhelmingly voted for individual 1 you’d get similar results.

    It’s Iowa Republicans, so narrow but telling about Trump’s key supporters.

    But Iowa did not vote overwhelming for Trump in 2016. Trump got 51.8 percent of the vote to Hillary’s 42.2 percent.

    Most people don’t like to admit they walk around with their heads up their ass so they are going to support him, up to the bitter end. Nixon still had support as he was resigning. Bet he still has support today.

    Again, what’s both noteworthy and sad is that a core of these voters fully embrace Trump’s noxious policies and are more loyal to him than to the GOP in general.

    There are other states, such as Pennsylvania, where Trump and GOP support are evaporating.

    A GOP implosion in Pennsylvania has Republicans alarmed about President Donald Trump’s reelection prospects in a state that proved essential to his 2016 victory.

    The enfeebled state party — still reeling after a devastating midterm election where Republicans lost three congressional seats and whiffed gubernatorial and Senate races by double digits — is tangled in a power struggle messy enough to capture the attention of the White House.

    The chaos threatens the president’s chances in a state where there’s no room for error. Trump, the first Republican presidential nominee to carry the state since 1988, won by less than a percentage point.

  110. 110
    cain says:

    @Brachiator:
    How odd. So even with all those tariffs, they are still supporting him? So it isn’t about the economy or anything else. I think these people are all scared of losing their dominance.

  111. 111
    Brachiator says:

    @cain:

    How odd. So even with all those tariffs, they are still supporting him? So it isn’t about the economy or anything else. I think these people are all scared of losing their dominance.

    Yep. Even though some of these people know that Trump’s stupid policies hurt them, they are still sticking with him.

  112. 112
    Brian says:

    @Nicole: Possibly Harriet Martineau, an English writer who visited the United States in 1834.

  113. 113
    afanasia says:

    @Nicole: Fanny Trollope, I think. Anthony’s mother.

  114. 114
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Nicole:

    I’m another person who thinks it was probably Frances (Fanny) Trollope’s Domestic Manners of the Americans, which is still a hilarious and sadly insightful read. She really, really did not like Americans as a group, especially out on the frontier of Ohio where she really felt they went out of their way to be rude to the “old English woman” and her family.

  115. 115
    Mo MacArbie says:

    I’ll throw out Isabella L. Bird. I’ve read A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains, but she wrote a few more about her travels in America and elsewhere.

  116. 116
    Procopius says:

    Of the tweets the company provided to the Senate, 57 percent are in Russian, 36 percent in English and smaller amounts in other languages…

    More than 99 percent of all engagement — meaning likes, shares and other reactions — came from 20 Facebook pages controlled by the IRA, including “Being Patriotic,” “Heart of Texas,” “Blacktivist” and “Army of Jesus.”…

    It seems to me these fragments are important. Emphasis added.

Comments are closed.